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CNT Charges Back to the Edge

Hoping to keep its edge in the SAN extension equipment market, CNT (Nasdaq: CMNT) today rolled out the latest generation of its flagship UltraNet Edge storage router line, claiming the new model boosts overall performance as it adds support for 2-Gbit/s Fibre Channel, Ficon, and FC routing, among other features.

The new model represents the biggest refresh to UltraNet since CNT first added Fibre Channel over IP (FCIP) support to its routers two years ago. One significant new feature of the UltraNet Edge 3000, to be generally available this week, is that it allows port-level configuration of protocols. Brian Larsen, CNT's senior director of connectivity and extension products, says this allows the same router to be used for multiple SAN extension applications.

"Before, units were either dedicated to disk or tape -- we've broken all those rules with the Edge 3000," he says. "It's a single platform, one model, that's configurable to customer needs." [Ed. note: The product should in no way be confused with The Edge, who is not in the least bit configurable.]

The four-port UltraNet Edge 3000 uses a new application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC), replacing the field programmable gateway array (FPGA) chip CNT was using in previous models. Because of this, Larsen says, the raw performance of the unit has increased 30 to 40 percent -- from 55-65 MByte/s, up to 95-110 MByte/s. The router also includes new bandwidth-management features, including the ability to change application priority based on time of day.

CNT has also added multipoint routing of Fibre Channel traffic, with the ability to handle up to 256 LUN (logical unit number) connections per box and up to 12 UltraNet Edge 3000 routers in a network.

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